Former Holmen woman pleads not guilty in husband’s hit-run death
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — A former Holmen woman accused of killing her husband in a hit-and-run case in February 2019 pleaded not guilty Monday in La Crosse County Circuit Court.
Judge Elliott Levine ruled that there was probable cause to bind Lori Ann Phillips, 50, over for trial on a second-degree reckless homicide charge in the death of her husband, 48-year-old Mark Phillips, on Feb. 23, 2019.
Lori, also known as Lori Gamoke and who now lives in Winona, was charged last month. Levine set her pre-trial conference for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 14.
She had called the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department on Feb. 23, 2019, saying she had found her husband dead in a snowbank, according to the criminal complaint.
She told a deputy “she did not know he was there,” according to the complaint.
The couple had had a “heated” argument the night before after having drinks at local bars.
The night leading up to Mark’s death, Lori described an argument that became “heated” while the couple was out for drinks at a pair of local bars.
“He was coming around this truck to come and get me, so I took off,” she told deputies. “His door was still wide open but I didn’t know that he was.”
He was aggressive toward her and was advancing toward the driver’s side door when she decided to take off, she said. She told deputies she thought he might have been chasing after her, but she did not see him in her mirrors.
Lori said she parked in a grocery store parking lot for a few hours until returning home around 1:30 or 2 a.m. and tried to sleep on the couch. When she awoke and Mark was not in the master bedroom, she went to check for his vehicle in the garage, according to the complaint.
She then noticed him in the snowbank, the complaint says.
The autopsy report lists several injuries on Mark’s body, including multiple blunt force injuries and multiple rib fractures. The Wisconsin Crime Laboratory found fibers, some of which appeared to be hair, underneath the couple’s truck. Another fiber was “consistent” with the jeans Mark was wearing that night, the lab report says.
Phillips’ attorney, Chris Zachar, argues that there is not enough evidence to charge her.
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